CHILDREN OF THE CORN. (1984) BASED ON THE WRITINGS OF STEPHEN KING. DIRECTED BY FRITZ KIERSCH. SCREENPLAY BY GEORGE GOLDSMITH.
STARRING PETER HORTON, LINDA HAMILTON, R.G. ARMSTRONG, JOHN FRANKLIN AND COURTNEY GAINS.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
Isaac: Tell Bart to come home!
Malachai: He’s not here! I think he’s at Nelson’s!
Isaac: Whooooooooo’s Nelson…?
Heh-heh-heh. I just had Isaac and Malachai re-enact a shouted conversation between Homer and Milhouse from THE SIMPSONS for the hell of it, just because they seem to be in such fine voice all the time.
Anyway, I love the first thirty-five or forty minutes of this Stephen King horror film adaptation. I love watching the dynamics of the relationship between newly-graduated doctor Burt Stanton (played by Peter ‘Thirty-Something’ Horton) and his try-too-hard girlfriend, Vicky Baxter. I could watch this pair bicker passive-aggressively all day. Burt is a Grade-A commitment-phobe, and slithers away from all of Vicky’s cringeworthy attempts to bring them closer together.
I also love the bits where they’re driving round in circles in ‘corn country’ trying to find the town where Dr. Burt is supposed to begin his doctoring career, but all they find after hours and hours of driving and getting more and more bad-tempered and narky with each other is a dead boy whom they may or may not have run over.
Oh, and a cranky old man running a gas station whut don’t have no gas no-how. And as for this old-timer giving the young couple some directions to where they’re going, well, talk about ‘There ain’t no Mono-rail and there never wuz…!’ Something strange is definitely going on around these here parts…
Those bits are great. It’s only when they get to the bits with the small blonde-haired girl in the LITTLE HOUSE AND THE PRAIRIE get-up who can draw the future (sometimes, she even whittles the future) that I settle back for a swift kip.
These kids are super-boring and have little to recommend them. Outmoded fashions, a funny old-fashioned Biblical way of talking and ridiculous restrictions on their own lives (‘She was listening to music and drawing and doing puzzles!’) and mental health.
They’ve killed all the adults in their town, on the orders of their teenage leaders, Isaac and Malachai (these two are brilliant!) and therefore only have corn to eat. It seems to me that they’re a tad over-reliant on the corn, plentiful though it may be:
Isaac: Hey, Malachai, whatcha get for your birthday?
Malachai: Um, some corn, I guess.
Isaac: Oh yeah, right. Corn…
And what about when they go to the job centre?
Official: And what other jobs have you had?
Isaac: I’ve worked in, erm, corn some.
Official: Hmmm. I see. What are your strengths?
Isaac: Erm, I’m good with, um…
Official: I see…
And their phoney, makey-uppy god, a malevolent entity who apparently ‘walks behind the rows’ (of corn? What else?), has got these dumb, poorly-dressed hicks committing suicide at nineteen, the age at which their lives are just about to open up like a flower.
Why? Well, the dopes believe they’re going to live in their version of Heaven with ‘He Who Walks Behind the Rows,’ but of course they’re so not. It’s all a big fat religious con, if they could but see it, the poor fools.
I like Isaac and Malachai tearing verbal strips off each other near the end, but the end itself is messy and confusing and there’s probably just a little too much fire. I love when the couple end up with the two ‘normal’ kids at the end and Burt says playfully: ‘How’d you kids like to come and stay with us for a week?’
Vicky is ecstatic, probably because she feels that the kids will bring herself and Burt closer together, much like having a baby of their own. I just can’t wait till Dr. Burt finds out that you have to keep kids for longer than just a week. Would sure love to be a fly on that wall…
Hey, how’d you get Isaac or Malachai off your back?
Just point to somewhere in the distance and yell: ‘Dang me, it’s an Outlander…!’ Lol.
Also, right, I’m now officially coining the term, ‘corn horror.’ There are loads of films that would come under this category: HUSK, SIGNS… Well, there’s bound to be a few more when I sit down to have a good think about it.
PS, RIP, Sarge, you poor good doggy, you. That was well out of order, what happened to you.
I’ll leave you with an hilarious quote on the film from Roger Ebert:
‘By the end of Children of the Corn, the only thing moving behind the rows is the audience, fleeing to the exits.’
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
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